Substance Use and Abuse: Sociological Perspectives
Course code SOCA Units 10 units.
A SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE ON DRUGS AND DRUG USE
Level level. Course handbook -- Jump to section -- Description Availability Learning outcomes Content Assumed knowledge Assessment items Contact hours Description Patterns of drug use and the representation of drugs as a social issue have great sociological significance. Availability Course Timetables Online. Lecture Online 1 hour s per Week for Full Term starting in week 1. Tutorial Online 2 hour s per Fortnight for Full Term. You … Learn More. Drugs in Perspective is a compilation of useful reports, case studies, and literature on drugs and alcohol—their use, abuse, and addiction.
Backed by more than 30 years of clinical experience with clients, Dr. Richard Fields provides a comprehensive framework to understand substance abuse. The 9th… Learn More.
Studyguide for Substance Use and Abuse: Sociological Perspectives by Shaw, ISBN 9780275971397
Drugs in American Society is a sociological introduction to the use of psychoactive substances in the United States that takes the focus out of the lab and onto the street. Throughout the book, personal accounts tell the stories of drug use and the impact that it has on the lives of users. The book … Learn More. Drugs: Policy and Politics is an accessible introduction to the links between drugs and social policy.
Wiener , p.
Likewise, Reinarman and Levine a studied how in the late s politicians and the media manufactured a crack scare for political and financial gain when crack use became visible among racial and ethnic minorities in poor, urban communities. Regarding professional ideologies, Edwards , a physician, noted the potential impact of the researchers themselves on the addictions field. The librarian Page , p. Acker , p.
source url Armstrong , p. Nevertheless, the literature on alcohol and other drugs that is presented in this article reveals a sociology of drinking and drug problems in the spirit of the research program Bacon proposed. As Bacon urged, researchers have studied the functions of alcohol and drug consumption e. Alexander ; Bacon  ; Bourgois ; Horton  ; Peele , the manner and method by which alcohol and other drugs are consumed, including where, when, and with whom e.
Cavan ; Fingarette ; Macrory ; Zinberg , and norms, sanctions, and, in particular, sanctioning agents related to drinking and drug problems e. Gusfield ; Levine ; Rorabaugh ; Ullman , and how drinking comportment and drug problems, especially habits, customs, and roles, are learned e. More specifically, this article suggests that the sociology of drinking and drug problems can be regarded as a multidisciplinary field of study and usefully divided among sociocultural, socio-environmental, and ideological perspectives.
To reiterate, this typology is not the only way to interpret the literature that is presented in this analysis, but it does highlight the broad conceptual and theoretical orientations linking work performed over several decades by sociologists and researchers in closely allied fields on many different alcohol and drug topics. One conclusion drawn from these data, frequently discussed in sociological studies on alcohol and other drugs but less commonly from a multidisciplinary standpoint, is that problem drinking and problem drug use are not caused exclusively by biologic traits.
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Ries et al. But as even Bacon , p. Works emphasizing a sociocultural perspective which mostly examine alcohol consumption have indicated that social change can cause problem drinking. For instance, early 19th century industrialization in America triggered new technologies as well as economic, population, and urban growth that ultimately produced middle-class, modern society.
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Individuals might attempt to mitigate these problems by drinking excessively. In fact, modern culture promotes heavy drinking to alleviate the worry and tension that the culture itself generates while places such as community taverns that offer solace from modern culture might tacitly encourage problem drinking. In addition, cultures socialize individuals how to define problem drinking and how to behave during drinking episodes.
Problem drinking can also stem from cultural-economic interests, American multiculturalism to the extent that it engenders ambivalent attitudes about problem drinking, and acculturation to American drinking norms. Studies that illustrate a socio-environmental perspective have revealed how individuals learn to use, interpret, and react to alcohol and other drugs. Regular and by implication problem marijuana use is learned, just as opiate users become addicted only if they learn to recognize opiate withdrawal from other opiate users.
Noxious environments can cause problem drinking and problem drug use as can communities that are plagued by alienation and powerlessness — corollaries of racism, poverty, unemployment, family instability, community decay, political oppression, and exclusion from mainstream society that affect urban minorities and inner-city ethnic groups.
Heavy cocaine users can control their use or stop using cocaine altogether if they perceive they are jeopardizing important aspects of their life such as their family, finances, job, or social status. Social learning, social setting, and alienation, then, are as relevant to problem drinking and problem drug use as biologic vulnerability.
Research that reflects an ideological perspective has underscored the influence of cultural, institutional, and professional ideologies on conceptions of problem drinking and problem drug use. In the early 20th century, white Americans exploited cocaine use among blacks to protect their racial power while after World War II young, poor, urban black males who abused heroin endured comparatively more stigma and stratification than their 19th century white, middle- and upper-class female counterparts.
Medicine and religion characterize problem drinking as a moral issue as American politicians and the media, focused disproportionately on racial and ethnic minorities in poor, urban communities, portray problem drug use as a national issue. Furthermore, the United States government challenges the medicinal value of marijuana, just as it challenged alcohol use in the s, in accord with its antidrug mentality.
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Lastly, scientists and medical professionals exaggerate problem drinking and problem drug use to control alcohol and drug users, to legitimize or advance their professional agenda, to rationalize morality in the name of clinical care, and to defend scientific logic despite its limitations. In sum, problem drinking and problem drug use are not simply matters of biology. That the literature presented in this article reveals a sociology of drinking and drug problems that challenges conventional thinking about problem drinking and problem drug use does not excuse its limitations, namely the problem-oriented approach.
Some of the studies above illustrate how alcohol and drug use can be normal, customary, or valuefree. Cavan noticed that deviant behavior that occurs outside of a public drinking place e. When settings change, so too do values regarding appropriate conduct. MacAndrew and Edgerton , pp. Finally, Gusfield argued that when the working classes in the early 20th century began drinking at home instead of in the saloon, they established an element of modern American culture.
For some drinkers, consuming alcohol at home became the normal activity that it is today. Yet studies on normal alcohol and drug use, not unlike the studies just mentioned, would make a valuable contribution see, e. The degree to which normal alcohol and drug use by some, in certain settings, promotes responsible use by others also deserves more attention. Alcohol and drug use, similar to abuse, derives from norms, values, customs, expectations, experiences, and objectives and not just from chemical and pharmacological effects.
Nevertheless, the literature on alcohol and other drugs that is presented in this article reveals a sociology of drinking and drug problems in the spirit of the research program that the sociologist Bacon proposed. This typology reaffirms, from a multidisciplinary standpoint, that problem drinking and problem drug use are not caused exclusively by biologic traits. The sociology of drinking and drug problems is limited by the problem-oriented approach. More research on the normal use of alcohol and other drugs will contribute to a better understanding of the connection between substance use and social life.
Christopher R. His research interests include the sociology and history of drugs, the medical profession, and conceptions of illness. A forthcoming chapter on the history of medical, scientific, and popular ideas about addiction will appear in the American Psychological Association Addiction Syndrome Handbook American Psychological Association National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Sociol Compass. Author manuscript; available in PMC Dec Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer.
Freed, University of South Alabama;.